People who are active on LinkedIn may notice a discrepancy between the number of connections they have and the number of followers they have. It may be worth looking into why these people decided to follow you instead of connecting. Trying to figure out what they want may lead to some interesting answers that will teach you a lot about your own brand.
When you publish something on LinkedIn, you may pick up followers along the way. These are people who actually signed up to follow you. But who are they and what do they want? What are the benefits of following someone? What are the benefits of having followers?
When you post something on LinkedIn, there’s a light blue highlighted follow button that appears to the far right of the author’s name at the top of the post. There is another one at the end of the post—also beside the author’s name. The latter one is very helpful because people sometimes forget to hit ‘follow’ after scrolling down to read the content.
There are other ways to follow someone, such as through the “recent activity” page and the drop-down menu behind the “connect button” on a person’s LinkedIn profile.
Followers are like phantom connections. They might not be interested in connecting with you just yet, but at least they are interested in what you have to say. This means they are fans of what you write. This goes to show that you provide high-quality content on LinkedIn—content that is valuable enough to catch the attention of other people on the platform.
They may have liked, commented, or shared one of your posts and are interested enough that they have chosen to follow you to see what else you can come up with. Because they are “phantom connections” your relationship with them is almost entirely intangible. LinkedIn does not even categorize them as part of your network, which is why they don’t have a relationship designation like a “1”, “2”, or “3+”.
You can look at your followers by going to the “Who Viewed Your Profile” page and selecting “Who Viewed Your Posts”. Just to the left of the “Publish a Post” button at the upper right is a number, which represents your total number of followers. Do keep in mind that this includes your connections. If you want the specific number, go to your “Privacy and Settings” page—this is where your number of followers is displayed.
Many people don’t have followers on LinkedIn. In fact, only LinkedIn users who are active on LinkedIn will grow their number of followers. When you like, comment, and share other people’s posts, you become an active part of the community and gain a following. Writing and posting often on LinkedIn may eventually help you gain hundreds or thousands of followers. LinkedIn influencers can have hundreds of thousands.
When someone follows you, they will be updated every time you post publicly and create long form posts. They receive notifications from LinkedIn.
Despite being able to know how many followers you have and who decided to follow you, it is not exactly possible to know why they decided to do so. There’s no way to ask them either because you are technically not connected—unless you message them using an InMail.
The benefits of having followers on LinkedIn are very subtle, so it’s best not to expect too much from it. But, it is a solid indicator that you are doing something right. It serves as evidence that you are a thought leader in your respective field and that you are providing valuable content.